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Frequently Asked Questions Employment

Disability Employment

  •   For specific training packages for new managers, the USDA Graduate School offers the following courses:
    • Human Resource Management for Supervisors and Managers
    • EEO -- Its Place in the Federal Government
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  • Initially, start by discussing the accommodation needs with the person who has the disability. Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis, considering the specific needs and the existing limitations of the person you hire who has a disability. Accommodations are also determined based on the essential functions of the job, the work environment, the effectiveness of the proposed accommodation, and any alternative means of accomodation. Some of the most common types of accommodations include, but are not limited to:
    • TTYs for use with telephones by people who are deaf; hardware and software that make computers accessible to people with vision impairments or who have difficulty using their hands;
    • Sign language interpreters for people who are deaf or hard of hearing or readers for people who are blind;
    • Providing training and other written materials in an accessible format, such as in Braille, on audio tape, or on computer disk; and
    • Physical changes, such as installing a ramp or modifying a workspace.
    For more information refer to the reasonable accommodation policy for your agency.
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  • The summer jobs program for college students with disabilities is called the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP). This program is co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and the Department of Defense. The WRP aims to provide summer work experience, and in some cases, permanent employment, for college students with disabilities. The program develops partnerships with other Federal agencies, each of which makes a commitment to provide summer jobs. The Department of Defense Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) provides assistive technology and accommodation services to all WRP participants working for the Federal Government for the summer.
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  • Individuals with disabilities may be considered for excepted service positions under the 213.3102(u) appointment authority by reviewing vacancy announcements posted on www.usajobs.gov and submitting resumes for positions that are of interest to the applicant, or they may contact agency Special Placement Coordinator(s) in the agency for which they wish to work. (Special Placement Coordinators are involved with the hiring, placement, and advancement of individuals with disabilities at their agency; a list of these coordinators can be found at http://apps.opm.gov/sppc_directory/). Because appointments under 5 CFR 213.3102(u) are excepted service appointments, agencies may accept resumes without posting job notices. Applicants should indicate "5 CFR 213.3102(u)" on their resumes for both application methods.
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  • Reasonable accommodations that can be requested include, but are not limited to, the following: o   making existing facilities accessible;   o   restructuring the job;   o   utilizing part-time or modified work schedules;   o   adjusting or modifying tests, training materials, or policies;   o   providing qualified readers and interpreters;   o   acquiring or modifying equipment; and   o   reassigning an individual to a vacant position for which the employee must be qualified.  
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  • Yes, proof of the disability is required for appointments of persons with intellectual disabilities, severe physical disabilities, or psychiatric disabilities. This regulation allows agencies to accept as proof of disability documentation from a licensed medical professional (e.g., a physician or other medical professional duly certified by a State, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. territory, to practice medicine); a licensed vocational rehabilitation specialist (i.e., State or private); or any Federal agency, State agency, or an agency of the District of Columbia or a U.S. territory that issues or provides disability benefits.
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  • There are no changes to the current procedures. Per OPM's Guide to Personnel Record keeping (http://www.opm.gov/feddata/recguide.pdf [1.8 MB]), the employing agency must maintain any authoritative medical documentation, certificate of disability, statement of employability, etc., in a separate, confidential folder, rather than in the person's Official Personnel Folder (OPF). The information must be treated as confidential medical records with access limited only to those whose official duties require such access. OPM encourages agencies to develop written policies to further ensure that the confidentiality and security of private information is maintained.
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  • Yes. As part of the WRP, students who have a successful summer experience and are qualified for the position may be offered a permanent job. They may be hired under special hiring authorities governing the employment of persons with disabilities. (See also Questions 18 and 19, above, and contact your human resources office for additional information.)
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  • A. This regulation covers individuals with intellectual disabilities, severe physical disabilities, or psychiatric disabilities. The new rules do not specifically include or exclude any one particular type of disability under these three classes of disability. Different Federal programs use different operational definitions of disability, as do researchers, advocacy groups, and other interested parties. Variations occur because many groups define disability for different purposes. Determinations whether a specific disability is included or excluded under the new rules for the purposes of appointment under 5 CFR 213.3102(u) are made by the expanded entities previously identified in this document. Hiring agencies may also consult the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, agencies such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, and State Vocational Rehabilitative Services offices for additional guidance regarding particular medical conditions.
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  • Employees or applicants with disabilities who need reasonable accommodation are responsible for making their needs known to the appropriate official. Supervisors are responsible for properly responding to requests for accommodation from their employees. When an individual decides to request accommodation, the individual or his/her representative must let the employer know that s/he needs an adjustment or change at work for a reason related to a medical condition. The employer and the individual with a disability should engage in an informal process to clarify what the individual needs and identify the appropriate reasonable accommodation.
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